5 kanban services ready to take your productivity to the next level

Kanban boards make it easy to manage your projects and tasks. Jack Wallen lists his top five proprietary options to help get you started on your kanban journey.

Kanban boards have become a must-have for busy software developer teams everywhere. But kanban boards don't just apply to developers and engineers; in fact, kanban boards can help make any project or team more productive and efficient.

For those new to kanban, where do you turn for software? You might find a kanban solution in your operating system's app store that is exactly what you need. But what if you need a team solution or something that offers features not found in a stand-alone desktop client? Let's look at five options to get you started on the road to kanban nirvana. Each of these kanban solutions is browser or cloud-based, so you can use them anywhere.

Monday.com

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A sample of a Monday.com kanban board.

Monday.com is one of the top kanban board/project management services around. In fact, Monday.com is a complete project management solution that handles agile methodologies, budget management, collaboration, Gantt/timelines, idea management, milestone tracking, portfolio management and more.

This cloud-based platform makes it possible for you or your business to create your very own application dashboards and work management tools. Even better, Monday.com can be used as a CRM, ad campaign manager, bug tracking, customer project manager, video production manager ... if you need to manage it, Monday.com is there to help. As far as kanban is concerned, Monday.com is as flexible and user-friendly as any you'll ever experience.

Monday.com is free for personal use, but for businesses an account can range from $8/user/month (for the Basic plan) to $16/user/month (for the Pro plan). Enterprise users must contact Monday.com for pricing. Check out the feature/plan matrix for more information.

Monday.com

Shortcut

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A sample Shortcut kanban board.

Shortcut is another kanban-based project management solution that makes your introduction to kanban incredibly simple. Shortcut allows you to easily zoom in and out between stories, iterations and roadmaps, all the while useful context is there to help guide and inform you. You can customize your kanban boards to perfectly meet the needs of your projects and your teams. And although the Shortcut interface may not be quite as modern as that of Monday.com, it's still user-friendly.

Like Monday.com, Shortcut is highly configurable, so you can bend it to perfectly fit whatever type of project you need to manage. In less than five minutes, I was able to shift the focus of software development project states to better suit my needs (for managing numerous fiction and media projects).

Shortcut does have a free option (for small teams). If you're looking at larger teams, the cost is $8.50/user/month. For businesses, the cost is $12/user/month, and enterprise businesses must contact sales for pricing. To find out more, check out the Shortcut plan/feature matrix.

Shortcut

Asana

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A sample Asana kanban board.

Asana is another big hitter in the project management space that also includes kanban boards. Asana makes it easy to tweak projects and columns to perfectly meet the needs of your workflow. Asana also gives you quick access to an overview, lists, timelines, calendars, dashboards, messages, forms and files, so even when you're using the kanban board, you have the option to quickly access any of those tools from the toolbar. On the left sidebar, you also can work with tasks, reporting, portfolios and goals. Asana has a mobile app for both iOS and Android.

Asana offers a free plan for individuals or teams just getting started. For bigger teams, there's the Premium plan, which costs $13.49/user/month and for businesses, there's the Business plan, which costs $30.49/user/month. You can lessen those costs if you pay annually (Premium goes down to $10.99/user/month and Business goes down to $24.99/user/month). For more information, check out the Asana pricing/feature matrix.

Asana

Trello

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A sample Trello kanban board.

Trello is used by all types of companies for just about every type of project, from software engineering to editorial workflows. Trello allows you to create lists, cards, task assignments, timelines, productivity metrics, calendars and more. Trello includes no-code automation, so your team members can concentrate more on getting work done, instead of having to spend time on tedious tasks (such as moving lists). You can create custom buttons to make build processes more efficient, automatically keep your team aware of deadlines, and even schedule assignments.

Trello offers seamless integration with tools like Google Drive, Slack and Dropbox. Trello boards aren't laid out quite like typical kanban, but once you get the hang of them it's really simple to use the workflow.

Trello does offer a free plan, as well as a Standard ($5/usr/month), Premium ($10/user/month), and Enterprise ($17.50/user/month). To find out more about features and pricing, check out their product matrix.

Trello

Hive

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A sample Hive Kanban board.

Hive offers a very easy-to-use kanban interface that anyone can get up to speed with. With Hive, it's all about the board being a quick view of where each action stands in the workflow. Instead of the interface being cluttered with too many features and options, it's all about easing the management tasks, so you can focus on the work. And moving cards from one status to another is as simple as dragging and dropping between columns.

Hive kanban boards are no-nonsense, but for those who want to just make it all about flow, this board might be exactly what you want. And with just a few quick configurations, you can make Hive fit just about any project you need.

Hive has apps for macOS, iOS and Android, so you can interface with your boards on either the desktop or your phone.

Hive offers a free plan for individuals and small teams, as well as a Team plan starting at $12/user/month and an Enterprise plan (contact sales for details). Check out the product/feature matrix for more information.

Hive